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Stress and its Relation with Physical Pain

"Why is this happening to me? What did I do to deserve this sore knee / headache / back pain?".We tend to ask ourselves these questions when we are in physical pain. We usually think of pain as unrelated to us,as if there's nothing we can do about it except learn to live with it, and perhaps alleviate it with pain-killers.Physical pain creates lots of mental stress: when we hurt, the pain and the suffering is all we think about. Pain fills our mind, and we stress out. And since we don't know what to do about the pain, more and more pain management clinics open.

I'm going to risk being regarded as a weirdo, and make the following suggestion:.Look at pain in a different way. Treat it as a messenger who is here to tell you something, to give you a message. See pain as a teacher, as your body's way of giving you information."Are you crazy?!".Before you commit me to a mental hospital, let me tell you why I believe the above is true:.

Physical pain is the result of emotional pain, and emotional pain is the result of a certain view we have of the world around us. Let me give you an example:.Two years ago, my foot suddenly started hurting so bad I couldn't put my weight on it. It was nighttime, and my kids had to help me get to bed. The following morning I woke up and wanted to go to the bathroom, but I still couldn't walk.Since I know from my work as a kinesiologist that pain is merely a messenger with a message for me, I sat myself down and checked with myself what could have caused the pain.

I remembered that a few hours before my foot started hurting, I went to my Aikido lesson ? a martial art I wrote about in my last article. During the lesson, the teacher worked with me, but I just couldn't do the technique the way he thought I should.So he stopped the lesson and started shouting in front of all the students that "some people just won't understand what you show them and are incapable of doing even the simplest things". I didn't say anything, but I was definitely HURT.I was hurt emotionally, and several hours later, I also hurt physically.

I was in so much pain I couldn't put my weight on my foot.When I sat down in the morning and put two and two together, the physical pain and the emotional pain, I realized that in order to rid myself of the physical pain, I must do something about the emotional pain. And in order to rid myself of the emotional pain, I needed to see why I was hurt emotionally.Why was I hurt when the teacher told everyone I wasn't good enough in Aikido? Admittedly, I'm nowhere near as good as he is. I've been practicing for two years, while he's been in this business for twenty or thirty years. I was doing my best, and that's what counts.

I realized that he was angry out of frustration, and he was frustrated because he couldn't explain what he wanted me to do. This frustration was his own business, and so was the anger that resulted from it.HIS.

Not mine.True, he shouldn't have yelled at me in front of everybody, but it was still because of his issues, not because I was at fault. In short, the whole event was about his issues, not mine.

What I had to do was realize this, and decide whether I wanted to keep taking his classes or not. Should I keep walking down this road, or look for another teacher?.So I realized that the anger and frustration were his, and decided to keep taking his classes.

And you know what? A couple of hours later, I could walk.I hadn't taken any pain-killers. "All" I did was deal with why I was hurt emotionally, and I found a different perspective from which to look at the event, one that would allow me to feel all right about it.

The pain disappeared as soon as the cause for it disappeared. It was there to tell me something, and when I had dealt with what it had come to tell me, it was no longer needed, so it simply went away.When we regard pain not as an enemy, but as a friend or teacher who's come to point our attention to some emotional issue, it stops being a cause for stress.

Instead, we can thank it, and sit down to figure out what it's come to tell us. What should we pay attention to? What do we need to change in our life?.I do this all the time, and my body "speaks" to me all the time. When my body has something to tell me, it signals in the only way it can ? through pain. When something hurts, I understand that I need to see what's going on, and when I do it, the pain leaves. So I say "thank you" ? I thank the pain for pointing my attention to where it is needed.

When we adapt such a view of our pain, we can remove another stress factor from our life. But not only that ? we can also transform pain from a stressful, non-understandable enemy into a loving teacher.


Dvora Ifat and Shunit Ben-Tzvi are co-authors of "No Stress! How to Save Tons of Money on Shrinks and Doctors - Just by Reducing Stress!", a web authority on stress management and relief. http://www.nostressebook.


By: Dvora Ifat

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